The Anti-Sam Rainsy Law

Sunday, May 28, 2017

NEC: No Complaints Filed Against Prime Minister Over War Rhetoric

NEC: No Complaints Filed Against Prime Minister Over War Rhetoric

The Cambodia Daily | 27 May 2017

No complaints have been filed with the National Election Committee over the Prime Minister’s election campaign speeches about waging war to maintain power, so the NEC will not investigate his public comments, spokesman Hang Puthea said on Friday.

—Commune Election 2017—
 
The premier warned on Thursday during a three-hour speech to more than 4,000 people on Koh Pich that the CPP must win the upcoming commune and national elections to avoid the country being plunged into civil war and said he was willing to “eliminate 100 or 200 people” to prevent a transfer of power.

Members of the National Election Committee Left: Hang Puthea and Right: Hing Thirith speak about the commune election campaign at the NEC headquarters on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Such rhetoric is supposed to be barred during the two-week campaign period leading up to the June 4 commune elections, but the NEC does not pursue such issues unless a complaint has been filed, Mr. Puthea said.

 “The measure is that whenever there are complaints to NEC, NEC will solve the issue, but NEC cannot settle the issue whenever there is no complaints,” he said.

“NEC is not a court institution which has a prosecutor to file complaint against anybody,” he added. For first six days of the two-week election campaign, 34 complaints were filed with the NEC’s Commune Election Committee in 11 separate provinces, the NEC reported on Friday.

Of those complaints, 85 percent, or 29 complaints, were filed by ruling CPP against the opposition CNRP, and the remainder five complaints was filed by the CNRP, said Keo Phall, head of NEC’s Legal Service and Dispute Department.

Mr. Phall, speaking at a news conference at the NEC’s headquarters on Friday, said 29 of the 34 complaints already had been settled. Three were pending at provincial election committees, and two were filed about fatal traffic accidents during rallies in Pursat and Battambang provinces, he said. Mr. Puthea described the election campaign atmosphere as basically smooth, with good public order, security and no violence.

“NEC has noticed that all parties have acted beyond the limitations, more or less,” Mr. Puthea said. 

Mr. Puthea said that some inappropriate advertisements featuring speeches by former CNRP president Sam Rainsy had been reported in some communes, but as there was no complaint, the NEC couldn take no action. 

The NEC did take preventative measures to ensure Mr. Rainsy’s comments were not included on any television ads, however, he said, in an effort to ensure a level playing field for all political parties. Mr. Rainsy’s comments ostensibly were banned because he has a criminal conviction for incitement.

Mr. Hun Sen on Thursday verbally asked the NEC to look into a number of social media posts by opposition CNRP party members that supposedly accused CPP’s supporters of being “yuon” a derogatory term for Vietnamese [The Daily repeating the lies and propaganda]. However, the NEC did not consider the request an official complaint, and has not pursued, Mr. Puthea said.

Asked whether the NEC had issued any warnings about using intimidating messages during the election campaign, Mr. Puthea said that the NEC so far has not yet warned anyone or any political party.



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